Local citizens are joining with others around the nation and the world to oppose a new form of wireless technology.
Currently, they are opposing two bills pending in the City Council that will be considered by a council committee this week.
The bills concern the new 5G technology and the opposition is based on the fear of esthetic harm to the city as well as health concerns.
Since mobile phones became available, some people have worried about possible health hazards from the electronic emissions. These fears carried over to other forms of wireless communication.
Advocates claim 5G transmission will be faster and better. Opponents claim it is ugly and harmful. They also worry about privacy.
The concern in Jacksonville is somewhat late in the game. The council held a series of hearings last year, going over the issue in detail. The two bills are a result of that.
Councilman Matt Carlucci said at a Nov. 12 council meeting that the city is compelled to act by a law from the Florida Legislature that prohibits local governments from “unreasonable” regulations on telecom companies.
The two proposed city ordinances greatly relax existing regulations on wireless facilities.
Opponents say it will allow hundreds of new cell towers and antennas throughout the city and give the telecom company, AT&T, the ability to cut back trees that interfere with their signals.
But the greater concern is the potential health hazards.
Activist Raymur Rachels, who spoke at the Nov. 12 meeting, cited warnings from various scientists and from the United Nations. She said the Federal Communications Commission has forced state and local legislative bodies to defer to the telecom companies that are pushing the rollout of 5G.
The technology is so new that it isn’t even well-defined yet, but it operates on top of the existing network, and is not a replacement.
Rachels said there are a number of cities involved in litigation to stop the rollout until more studies are done. She says there is a local group called Stop 5G Jax that has some 500 members. There also is a Stop 5G Florida, which has a page on Facebook. You can check out some of their research on these sites.
Jacksonville is one of 12 cities in Florida where 5G is being implemented.